She-Ra showrunner Noelle Stevenson answers our season 4 burning questions — including THAT big reveal
Warning: This article contains spoilers about season 4 of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
Well. That’s a lot to process.
Season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power did not disappoint, but did leave us with a lot of questions. Thankfully, showrunner Noelle Stevenson gave EW a call to unpack everything from Glimmer’s family drama to Light Hope’s true intentions to what that cliffhanger means for the future of all our favorite Etherians.
Here’s what she had to say in response to all our burning questions.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, first of all, how could you break up Catra and Scorpia like that?!
NOELLE STEVENSON: Friendship is not just something that you give to someone else. It’s something that someone has to reciprocate to you. And if someone is not giving back what they’re taking away from you, sometimes you need to leave — even though you still care about them, even though it’s heartbreaking. Scorpia is still someone who’s so motivated by love and by friendship, but she also needs people who love her back. I think her journey is figuring out how to love herself and how to let other people love her.
What inspired you to create the character Double Trouble and have them pretend to be Flutterina?
Double Trouble was a character that I knew I wanted to use from the very beginning. I don’t think the original Double Trouble ever appears in the show itself. They were just a toy design. But I love shapeshifters and I always have. Every story that I do has some kind of presence from a shapeshifter.
It makes sense that we would want to use [Double Trouble] to throw the characters into chaos, because how can you trust anybody when you don’t know who’s who? And then Flutterina is another legacy character that I think we always wanted to use but couldn’t quite figure out how to work her in. But Double Trouble is like, “Let me make my own version of the perfect princess.” She’s got butterfly wings, she’s adorable. She’s so sweet. She loves everybody. It’s almost like Doubles Trouble’s parody princess character, which the princesses totally fall for. It’s just so much fun because Double Trouble breaks all the rules of both sides. They really aren’t bound by the conventions that the other characters are bound by.
Double Trouble’s chaos leads to your noir episode. Was that a style you always wanted to try?
I love how it came out, but it was something that we actually kind of struggled with. We knew we wanted to do sort of a spy intrigue episode. At first, it was a little bit more straightforward, a little bit more of a war story. But then, I just had this feeling, that even though we were entering the fourth season, there was still a lot of places to take the story that were really fun, where we could play with the style. And so we came up with this sort of murder-mystery dinner theater kind of vibe for this episode — a little bit inspired by stuff like Clue. It really naturally seemed to fit into that place in the season and into Double Trouble’s entire thing, where they just love the drama of it.
Shadow Weaver is in the background for much of the season but then becomes very important to Glimmer, of all people…
Shadow Weaver is one of my favorite characters to write because I think she always ducks expectation. I always felt like she finds her own way through the story and we’re almost just trying to keep up. I think Shadow Weaver thinks that she’s a good guy now, which is really interesting because she really hasn’t done anything to redeem herself really other than be helpful to the main characters and give them things that they can use. She really hasn’t ever shown any remorse for anything she’s done. She hasn’t tried to apologize to anyone or make it right, and I don’t think that she really thinks she hasn’t done anything wrong. And Shadow Weaver is always coming up with a new plan. She’s always figuring out how she can work every situation to her advantage. And I think with Glimmer moving into this position as Queen, Shadow Weaver sees her chance.
Did you always plan on giving Kyle a backstory episode?
Kyle started just purely as a joke. I think at the time when I was developing the show, there were a lot of characters who were sort of very boring “every men” who tended to take the spotlight from people who seemed like they maybe were a little bit more suited for the role, who was usually a female character. So it was a little bit poking fun at that trope. Like, in any other story, Kyle would be the one who finds the sword. But now we care about all these characters so much, and that includes Lonnie, Kyle and Rogelio, so we wanted to delve into them and see how they were viewing what was going on.
I think that in some ways Kyle’s very bland optimism ends up saving the day because he believes in love, as it turns out. I think it is satisfying seeing Kyle stand up for himself. But more important than that, stand up for his friends. A character like Kyle in any other story might be kind of a chosen one who gets raised up, but in this one he’s someone whose strength comes from bringing people together.
Speaking of friendship, we finally got a musical episode!
I love musicals, but when you choose to do a musical episode, what is the logic that gets all of your characters to start singing? For us, it seemed like Seahawk was our natural way into that story, because he kind of sees the world as a musical. But it’s also sort of Bow’s story. He’s someone who always wants to see the good in everybody. He always wants to believe that everything will be okay. But in this episode, we see that that’s kind of starting to slip for him. Adora and Glimmer are drifting apart from each other and he’s stuck in the middle. This episode is one-half boisterous, pirate musical and one-half heartbreaking. That creates this disconnect between the joyful world that Seahawk and Bow and Perfuma are singing about.
I think my biggest regret is that Catra and Adora don’t really get to sing and Catra doesn’t get her own song. We batted it around, but it just seemed like it made sense for the place we were in the season.
After three seasons of wondering, we finally get some answers about Light Hope and Adora’s backstories…
One of the major themes that we explore in this show in relation to almost every character is destiny versus choice. So having a character like Light Hope, who is a computer, and what choice would a computer program have in a situation like this? She’s been built by the First Ones to do a very specific task and a button got pushed a long time ago that Light Hope is going to set off this weapon. But also this season, we see that Light Hope is not just the computer, she has feelings. She loves Mara and she doesn’t want to hurt her. She doesn’t want to hurt She-Ra, but she has to. This is her job, this is her programming. This is the only thing that she’s supposed to do.
It’s a mirror in some ways to Adora, who’s been set up as this weapon, as someone who’s really only supposed to occupy this very specific role. Even though Light Hope doesn’t really have the option that Adora has of breaking out of her programming, we still see her fighting through it. Ultimately I think that she does manage to break out of that because she was changed by love and this relationship with Mara.
So was Scorpia connecting to her Runestone the last thing standing in Light Hope’s way of completing her task? Was her family already disconnected from the Black Garnet in Mara’s time?
I think that Mara’s final actions, she did more to unbalance the planet than attack the Runestones. There was a lot of infrastructure to the planet that she attacked, both disabling the planet and the portal capabilities, which Light Hope needs to get to the weapon where it needs to be. And attacking Light Hope’s operating system with the watchtower in season 2 — even in season 4 we see this another outpost that Mara attacked, so Mara did everything she could to make sure that as many of the systems were offline as possible. Light Hope has essentially been handcuffed. She can’t use her full capabilities because of what Mara did. I think that Scorpia being distanced from her Runestone was just another piece that needed to be in place after Light Hope had sort of addressed the other issues. There were more pieces out of place than just the Black Garnet.
Let’s get to the big reveal: Glimmer’s dad, Micah, is still alive?! When did you make that decision?
I definitely have the biggest plot points kind of already set. We always know on a large scale what we’re working towards. But within that, I try to like let the characters be organic as much as possible. In season 3, when we see him in the portal world, that’s when we decided that, yes, he is actually still alive somewhere. I think he fits very well into the story of the season because he is someone who is also incredibly justice-minded. He’s been cut off from the rest of the world for so long but he never let that stop him from wanting to do the right thing. So he’s someone who’s very similar to Glimmer in a lot of ways.
Will we finally see Micah and Glimmer reunite?
I think the tragedy of Glimmer and her father missing each other so closely is that maybe he would’ve been able to distract her from this path — pull her back from going as far as she’s going. And it’s so close. So yeah, I think we’re all kind of rooting for that reunion to happen at some point. But the question is when or if it will happen.
What else can you tease about next season?
The board has sort of been wiped clean and the stakes have been totally rewritten. I think that the characters — even the characters you should have known better, like Hordak — didn’t quite understand the full stakes of what was going on. Glimmer tried to protect everyone but instead, she ends up putting this incredibly powerful weapon into the hands of the most dangerous person in the entire universe. All of the characters I think have just been hurled into uncharted waters at this point.
Adora doesn’t have She-Ra to rely on, she doesn’t have what she thought was her destiny to follow. The only thing she knows is that she just has to do something. She has to get Glimmer back, she has to save Etheria, she has to see the universe, and she has no idea how to do that. Glimmer doesn’t have access to her magic anymore. Catra is now sort of caught up in the middle of all of this and makes an interesting choice at the end of the season to actually kind of save Etheria by interfering. But the question is kind of, what is she going to do next? Is she going to do what she’s always done and try and work her way up? Is she going to just try and find a way to survive? What does she want now when she almost got the thing she thought she wanted and realized that she doesn’t want it.
And I am really excited for everyone to see more of Horde Prime because he is incredibly creepy and incredibly terrible — in an unexpected way. He’s not what I think Hordak led us to believe that he was with his story…